An Ardbeg Renaissance: at 55.9% ABVJanuary 23rd, 2008
Finally, after the limited releases of Very Young, Still Young, Almost There, and the other whiskies leading up to a 10 year old Ardbeg distilled–and bottled–by the current owners, our wait is over.
Ardbeg will be releasing, in equally limited quantities, a 10 year old (definitely there!) cask strength Ardbeg in the very near future, which they’re calling Renaissance.
I spent two hours today with Dr. Bill Lumsden, the master behind all the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg creations. Yes, we went through all the new Glenmorangie whiskies (I’ll save that for a later date–lots of good stuff), but I just want to focus on this new Ardbeg today.
[Side note: I'm a lucky guy. Not only do I get to spend time with brilliant people like Bill, but he pulls out cool whiskies like this from his 200ml sample bottles that he brings over in his luggage. I am fortunate to taste this with him months before it gets bottled.]
The verdict of this Ardbeg? Great stuff. I love an Islay whisky that balances its smoky notes and brash youthfulness with a soothing sweetness, and this is a great example. The whisky is aged exclusively in first-fill bourbon barrels, which contributes to this whisky’s sweet, vanilla underbelly.
Bill told me that the ABV may change slightly by the time it gets bottled, but you get my point here. Track down a bottle and get one if you are an Ardbeg enthusiast–or just love smoky whiskies. Bill eluded to the fact that it might be an “Ardbeg Committee Only” bottling (check their website at www.ardbeg.com for more information). The logistics, and the whisky’s price, is still up in the air. But, you now have a mission.